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Criminal Justice “the New Jim Crow” and Racial Profiling

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1 Criminal Justice “the New Jim Crow” and Racial Profiling
A Lecture by Attorney John Burris Alameda County Legal Secretaries Association (ACLSA) Membership Meeting May 7, 2013

2 Copyright Law Offices of John Burris
INTRODUCTION Civil Rights Law Practice: Policing the police Background with Civil Rights The history of Bay Area Police and Policing throughout the 1960s, 1970s. 1980s, 1990s, present Black Panthers Melvin Black Oakland “Riders” Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

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LEGAL STANDARDS Fourth Amendment: The right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures Thirteenth Amendment: Outlawed slavery and the badges and incidences of servitude. Fourteenth Amendment: the right to Due Process and Fairness. 42 USC 1983: Allows citizens to sue police officers who violate Constitutional rights and use Excessive force in the process. California Civil Code Section 51.7 and 52.1 give citizens the right to sue for excessive force due and racial discrimination Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

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JIM CROW The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. Mandated Separate But Equal status for African Americans. De jure segregation written into law in Southern States. De Facto segregation due to behavior patterns in Northern regions School segregation declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1954 Brown v. Board of Education. Jim Crow laws generally overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In my practice we fall back on the legacy of these legal principles to fight the vestiges of those laws Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

Alexander's book discusses the current mass levels of incarceration in the US. The US has 5% of the world's population and incarcerates 25% of the world's prisoners. Alexander discusses the societal repression of African-American and Latino men and the resulting social consequences. Alexander also discuss warehousing black and Latino men in America's prison as well as the way in which the felony label creates an immediate cycle of second-class citizenship. In one article, Alexander commented on the current status of African-Americans saying: The clock has been turned back on racial progress in America, though scarcely anyone seems to notice. All eyes are fixed on people like Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey who have defied the odds and achieved great power, wealth and fame". In her view, African-Americans are largely part of a racial "caste" system. Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

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THE NEW JIM CROW Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow”: Legalized discrimination: Ex felons are Marked- Legally denied 1. voting 2. employment 3. Housing 4. Public benefits 5. Education Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

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INCARCERATION RATES Number of black men incarcerated in federal state or local prisons in 2006: 837,000  For every 100,000 black males, an estimated 4,777 are held in federal or state prison or a local jail. By contrast, for every 100,000 white men, only 727 are estimated to be incarcerated. Keep in mind that it cost approximately $40,000 annually to incarcerate an individual. Bureau of Justice Statistics 2008 Whites: 66% of population 34% incarcerated Blacks: 12% of population 40% incarcerated Latinos: 15% of population 20% incarcerated Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

8 Criminal Justice System
Racial Discrimination : Detention, Arrest, Bail Charges: harshness may depend on the race/sex of victim and defendant Convictions Sentencing: disparity may depend upon the race/sex of victim Conviction mistakes Exoneration Minor drug conviction Disparity: Cocaine v. Crack Mandatory minimum Three strikes and life time sentence Bad results: exonera Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

9 Arizona SB 1070: RACIAL PROFILING?
The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act The Act was signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010 The law was scheduled to go into effect on June 29, 2010 US Federal Law requires all aliens over the age of 14 who remain in the United States for longer than 30 days to register with the US government They must have registration documents in their possession at all times Violation of this requirement is a Federal misdemeanor crime The Arizona Act additionally made it a state misdemeanor crime for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying the required documents Law required officers attempt to determine an individual's immigration status during a "lawful stop, detention or arrest", or during a "lawful contact” The day before the law was to take effect, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that blocked the law’s most controversial provisions In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the case Arizona v. United States, upholding the provision requiring immigration status checks during law enforcement stops but striking down three other provisions as violations of the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

The Department of Justice defines racial profiling as any police-initiated action that relies on the race, ethnicity, or national origin rather than the behavior. The ACLU defines "Racial Profiling" as the discriminatory practice by law enforcement officials of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on the individual's race, ethnicity, religion or national origin. African- American Definition: Walking While Black, Driving While Black, Being Black in the wrong place at the wrong time. Racial Profiling Stereotypes: Race, Skin Color, Clothes, Neighborhood, Time of Day, Type of Auto, Attitude Sources: Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

The Riders: The OPD has been under court monitoring since 2003, following the settlement of a civil suit against the city regarding four police officers known as the “Riders,” who were accused of planting evidence and making false arrests. As a result, the department entered into a consent decree (NSA) and agreed to implement a series of 51 reforms meant to improve its accountability. One of the most significant features of the NSA was the collection of data regarding racial profiling. Sources Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

The Oakland Police Department’s (OPD) data collection program found that as of 2008, African Americans were 3.3 times as likely to be searched during traffic stops as whites. Whites comprise 31.3% of Oakland’s population, yet they account for only 16% of vehicle stops, and 6.7% of motorists searched. African Americans, by contrast, comprise 35.7% of Oakland’s population, yet account for 48% of vehicle stops, and 65.8% of motorists searched Searches of AA yield less criminal activity than a similar amount of searches for whites. Sources Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

San Francisco made an effort to keep accurate data between 2001 and 2005. The statistics bore out that police arrested black people at a rate of 3.3 times that of whites. SF stopped reporting. Sources bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/03/07/MNGG9OGQFC1.DTL&ao=all Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

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NEW YORK A Federal District Court for Eastern District of New York granted class action status to a lawsuit accusing the Police Department of using race as the basis for stopping and frisking New Yorkers in summer 2012. The class action was based on a 2008 lawsuit alleging NYPD purposefully engaged in a widespread practice of concentrating its stop-and-frisk activity on black and Hispanic neighborhoods rather than legitimate non-racial factors. The lawsuit said officers are pressured to meet quotas as part of the program and they are punished if they do not. Data revealed that over 80 percent of NYPD initiated stops are of Blacks and Latinos while Whites comprised only 20 percent. Nearly 90 percent of all stops uncovered no weapons, contraband or evidence of criminal activity. Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be frisked after a NYPD-initiated stop than Whites. Blacks and Latinos are more likely to have physical force used against them during a NYPD-initiated stop than Whites. Sources Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

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OBSERVATIONS Racial profiling should not be viewed as a minor intrusion. Keep in mind that each wrongful stop has the potential for disastrous outcome particularly for the person of color. Racial profiling creates real psychological harm such as fear, hurt, rage, and sense of second-class citizenship Blueford and Rayford Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

Law Offices of John L. Burris. 7677 Oakport Street, Oakland CA 94621 (510) Copyright Law Offices of John Burris

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